Human Fall Flat Review – Play-D’oh

Curve Digital
Curve Digital /

It’s stupid, but it’s good stupid. Human Fall Flat is innocent fun that’s best enjoyed with a friend.

Developer: Tomas Sakalauskas
Publisher: Curve Digital
Platforms: PS4 (Version reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Release Date: May 9, 2017

Remember when physics-based games with intentionally awkward controls used to be funny? You know, before Steam’s lackadaisical early access regulations led to an intense over-saturation of the genre, made up of shameless imitations distinguished by low-grade craftsmanship and lazy design? Despite the stigma which physics humor now holds as a result, Human Fall Flat reminded me that there’s still life in the form yet, as an example of slapstick comedy done right.

The series of puzzles which make up the eight zones of Human Fall Flat are not so much a trial for the intellect as they are playgrounds for exercising your command of the game’s controls. Your character waddles around as though their skeletal system were made of jelly, rendering them prone to stumbles, tumbles and any other synonym you can find for “falling over” in the thesaurus.

You can control the positioning of their arms using the left and right triggers in accordance with the camera, which must be applied in sync to clamber up platforms, drag objects around or hold for dear life onto precarious objects. Some will no doubt find this needlessly finicky, but I was always either humored by my stumbles or deeply satisfied with my slow-paced successes.

Human Fall Flat
Curve Digital /

It’s almost a cliche at this point to say that games like this one are enjoyed better with friends (my philosophy is that all games would be improved by adding co-op, to be honest), but it couldn’t be truer when said for Human Fall Flat. Sporting a local co-operative mode that initiates with your fellow bipedal invertebrate landing awkwardly next to you, the hilarity only escalates as you cling onto one another, work through puzzles together and inevitably show off your homespun dance moves as facilitated by the sensitive controls.

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It’s slapstick humor at its most endearing, but the physics engine is also there to encourage creative solutions to some of the game’s trickier puzzles. Why there isn’t a multiplayer option for playing online is puzzling, or perhaps a consequence of the game’s limited budget, which can also be identified through the tacky aesthetic.

The minimalist environments, in which bright colors are used sparingly to highlight objects across the otherwise monochromatic landscapes, serve as functional for gameplay purposes, but it does leave everything looking bland. The menus have an “Early Access” feel to them too, which doesn’t make for a great introduction. Then again, this is a game made by one person, so you can’t expect everything – even if a little more visual flavor wouldn’t go amiss.

Human Fall Flat
Curve Digital /

The soundtrack, too, is strangely inconsistent; ranging from rousing electronic rhythms to somber piano melodies, as if each new level triggers the next shuffled song on a playlist of royalty free Kevin McCloud songs.

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Still, I laughed along with Human Fall Flat much more than I’ve done so with a game for a very long time. By putting a little more finesse and care into building the parameters of its goofy concept, it’s far more enjoyable than your average “Gabe Newell Physician Simulator 5000” found on the daily sales page of Steam, making this purchase well worth its slightly steeper asking price.

7. It’s a little on the short side, and I wish there was more of a visual style to charm the pants off me as much the gameplay did, but Human Fall Flat works great as a co-op puzzle game with a brain.. Tomas Sakalauskas. . Human Fall Flat

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.